Sunday, September 30, 2007

Taking one for Team Gilbane

A little bird tells me that Maria Flotte O'Neil has tendered her resignation from the NHMCCD board. It would appear that she has decided that her connection to questionable bidding activity via her husband is not worth the grief this blog and others have been giving her about it. Or perhaps since her husband no longer appears to work for Gilbane, her usefulness directing business to Gilbane has come to an end. Either way, Buh-Bye!

Lets hope that an interim replacement is not a FOB (Friend of Bates), like that harpy Charlotte Lampe (or should that be Lamprey? You know, a blood sucking parasite that will literally bleed it's host to death.) who I suspect was asked to run against Fred Blanton in order to dilute the anti-incumbent vote to protect the incumbent. She had in fact donated money to the sitting board members which shows she was really in bed with the incumbents all along. She may even have believed she was running of her own accord, but I think the board was using her all along. She wasn't smart enough to realize that she was a pawn in their game.

After all the crap that the board pulled to defeat Fred Blanton, he deserves a chance to try to clean up the joint.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Krauthhammer must read Red Ink: Texas

Because he basically came to the same conclusion I did.

Context is Everything, Mea Culpa

The other day I posted information that was forwarded to me regarding what appeared to me and to the people that forwarded it to me to be huge salary increases at NHMCCD. That information turns out to be somewhat out of context. While I still am concerned about the large salaries and multiple redundant layers of administration overhead at NHMCCD, among other things, I feel somewhat better about the situation regarding the budgetary increases noted previously. Below is the relevant part of an email discussion I have had with Dr. Carpenter over the last two days that helps to clarify things a bit.

My compensation is precisely what was reported in the news when I
took the job. There have been no changes to my compensation.

Reportedly, at the behest of district HR, a review of executive salaries
was conducted last spring followed by a recommendation to adjust
those salaries to be competitive with the national market. This was
discussed in the board workshops which I attended just after coming
on board. The board did adjust those salaries with the current budget.
Apparently the adjustment did indeed amount to a 16% increase. I
understand this to be a one time adjustment and would certainly not
envision additional adjustments of this nature in the future.

Here is my feeble attempt to explain what I think is the genesis of some confusion:

The budgets for various personnel are combined by department. Within the chancellor’s office, for example, there are four full-time positions. The total of these salaries is combined into one line item within the budget. In order for our public to see what changes have been made from one year to the next, we list the total of the previous year’s salaries next to the new budgeted salaries. In this case, the increase you are seeing is comprised of a 5% pay increase for 3 staff members, and the increase in the chancellor’s position that occurred over the summer when my contract was finalized. There was no subsequent adjustment made to my salary.

In the case of the chief information officer’s salary, the budget for salaries again includes more than one employee. The CIO’s salary was not increased more than the 16% market adjustment. In addition, the CIO reorganized the various departments under his supervision and many have been combined in efforts to increase efficiencies and to eliminate duplicate work. Thus, the 105% departmental increase you are seeing is offset by the elimination of other department salaries.

As for deferred compensation, the amount is charged each year to the budget, but is owned by the District until certain requirements have been met, all which are stipulated in my contract. The previous chancellor had a similar contractual arrangement where he received his deferred compensation at the completion of each year of his contract. In my case, however, I will not receive the compensation until I have successfully completed two years of service with the district; hence, the word “deferred” in this type of compensation.

Perhaps we are complicating and confusing the budget by including the detail line items within the documents that are published. It is my belief, however, that full disclosure and transparency is the best, and only, way to earn and maintain the public'’s trust. I invite you to visit with me and I can provide you as much detail as you would care to see.
I thank Dr. Carpenter for taking the time to clarify the issue. He is currently in New Orleans attending to a gravely ill mother, but he still took the time to respond and I sincerely appreciate it. I wish him and his mother well and they will be in my thoughts. I also welcome his willingness to open a dialog. In the past, communications with the administration have been less than satisfactory to put it mildly, and transparent as mud. I look forward to working with Dr. Carpenter to rebuild the trust that has been lost due to Pickelman's tenure at NHMCCD.

I admit that when I was presented with the information I was given, I was more than willing to believe that such arrogance was possible. It certainly would have been in keeping with business as usual at NHMCCD. After all the nasty surprises and skeletons I had encountered in the last couple of years, I was ready to believe just about anything was possible. I am overjoyed to learn that this was not one of them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lining Up at the Trough (Corrected)

The following post is based on inflammatory information that was presented to me out of context. I have a clarification of the data presented below here.

I am leaving the original post in place to show that I am not willing to partake in revisionist history, but the conclusions I arrived at I now believe to be false.

__________________Original Post___________________

In the George Orwell book Animal Farm, all the animals are equal, that is unless you are a pig. At NHMCCD, all the staff are equal, just some are more equal than others. And as in Animal Farm, those that are more equal are the pigs.

Farmer Jones must have yelled SOOWEEE because the pigs are lining up at the trough expecting to be fed.

Remember that 1/4 billion dollar bond election that failed? Apparently the board hasn't snapped to that fact quite yet because they just voted to give everyone at the college a raise. Now, mind you, most of the staff are only getting about 5%. As raises go, that isn't bad, but it certainly isn't going to break any banks.

But when it comes to the Administrators, things are, as usual, a little different.

The topmost administrators, and this by the way would appear to include Dr. Carpenter, who just started there at an already higher than expected rate due to his recent raise at his old institution, are getting a 29% raise. Lower level administrators are getting 16%, VP's are getting 6%. The claim is that these are needed to keep the staff "competitive", but lets not forget that administrators are overhead and do nothing at all to the bottom line of turning out educated students. The instructors are where the rubber meets the road. If any part of the staff needs to stay "competitive" it is the faculty, not the admins. ANY competent manager could serve an admin position. In fact, given most of the administrators we have right now, any INCOMPETENT manager could serve just as well.

As if that were not bad enough, it gets worse. This was apparently done in relative secrecy. In the faculty newsletter only the 5% raise was mentioned. Allan Hall, the Administration toady and figurehead El Presidente for life of the local AFT union knew all about it, but failed to tell anyone. The raises will be published in the budget books when they come out, but of course, they are not out yet, and there was reportedly little specific information in the minutes of the meeting at which it was approved, and no mention at all of raises listed in the posted agenda. It would appear that the specifics of the raises were likely discussed in a closed door workshop meeting that nobody was allowed to attend and when it came to the public meeting, the raises were discussed in only the most general of terms. The board agenda and minutes are official public records and they show no mention of differing raise amounts. The latest HR newsletter circulated by the district mentions only the 5% across the board raise.

The board also approved over $14 million in "emergency" expenditures that are currently out for bid, and guess who is in the middle of the bidding? Our good friends at Gilbane of course. I'm sure most of the companies that got RFQ's know the score. They are being asked for bids just so the district can say they requested bids from multiple vendors. They know they have no chance at winning those bids so they either don't bother to respond at all, or they pick a number out of their arse. Why spend time and energy producing a decent bid proposal when the odds of actually getting the bid are so small?

I had sincerely hoped that Dr. Carpenter would show some spine and clean up the fiscal mess that Pickelman had left, God knows there is plenty mess to clean up, but instead it would appear that "Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss" is the theme of the administration.

The consumer price index has risen 92.32% since 1986, but the cost of a 4 year degree has risen 343.81% during the same period.

With the administration writing checks that the tax base can't afford, is it any wonder why the cost of education has risen so steeply?

Here are some hard numbers directly from the budget book for everyone to chew on.


Acct. # Acct. Name 06/07 07/08 Change

10-00-6-400003-6310 Exec, VC Adminis. 174902 198424 13.45%

10-00-6-400005-6310 Exec. VC Info.Tech. 172604 354378 105.31%

10-00-5-341003-6310 Wkfc. Prog. Adminis. 152282 204588 34.35%

10-00-6-400221-6310 Purchasing Adminis 201700 304606 51.02%

10-00-6-400002-6310 Chancellor 368317?? 483472!! 31.27%

10-00-6-400002-6552 Chancellor deferred comp. 40,500 ?? 40,500 !! -0-%

11-00-6-400006-6310 Gen Counsel 260814 290291 17.42%

I'm lovin it.....

hat tip: El Capitan

Amnesty International Supports Infanticide

Amnesty International has released a statement supporting abortion rights. I wonder if they would have supported this abortion....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tales of the stupid, Entry #173569

Here is a little bit of advice to the intellectually challenged among you. If you happen to be wanted for warrants, and you are contrite and contentious enough to want to turn yourself in for said warrants, it might not be a good idea to steal a car in order to drive yourself to the police station to turn yourself in. I assure you, the judge will not be pleased.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

NK Nukes, Iranian Missiles, in Syria Updated

Ynet news is reporting that Israel has spotted nuclear installations they believe to be supplied by North Korea in Syria. The IAF flew an air to ground action tuesday in Northern Syria that was believed to be a missile site supplied with Iranian Missiles. North Korea responded with this statement:

"This is a very dangerous provocation little short of wantonly violating the sovereignty of Syria and seriously harassing the regional peace and security," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea strongly denounces the above-said intrusion and extends full support and solidarity to the Syrian people in their just cause to defend the national security and the regional peace."

Now, if North Korea wasn't involved, why did they comment at all? Clearly they are admitting that they ARE involved. Secondly, remember in the days and weeks prior to and shortly after the Invasion of Iraq? Remember we went in there looking for WMD's and didn't find much? Remember how there were persistent rumors that most of it was trucked, or in one published instance, flown, over the border into Syria? What do you want to bet that ol' Bashir has turned to the North Koreans and the Iranians to finish putting the parts together? Are you willing to bet your life?

Bret Stephens, editor of the Wall Street Journal seems to agree with me.

UPDATE II: The Brits have intel that there was an accident in a Syrian weapons depot that killed dozens of Iranian technicians and 15 Syrian Officers back in July. Seems they were trying to mount a chemical warhead on one of Syria's modified SCUD-C's and somebody made an oopsie..... The VX killed them.

Politics and Pants...

Bill couldn't keep it in his pants, and wanted to get in everybody else's.
Hillary really wants to wear the Pants.
Sandy Berger wants to stuff things into his pants.
Larry Craig got caught with his down around his ankles.
Barney Frank's boyfriend took his off for money.

What is it with the obsession with pants in politics?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Beslan was just the beginning. (Updated)

Glenn Beck is running a series on CNN called "The Perfect Day". In it he describes a plan that the DHS, FBI, and CIA have been following and for the most part sitting on, for some time. They have discovered several bits of evidence that point to the possibility that the plan is real, and is in motion as we speak. Evidence includes 3 hours of training films, captured computers with Department of Education safety recommendations on them, Intelligence from Guantanamo and other prisons, "chatter" on the internet and cell phone networks, and a series of school bus thefts across the country including nearly a dozen in the Houston area. I will explain the importance of that last bit in a moment.

Beslan was a first attempt. There are aspects of the assault on the Russian School that have heretofore not been revealed to the public. First and foremost, the assailants were not Chechens as have been described, there were several nationalities there, including Pakistanis, Taliban Afghans, and others. Secondly, All the female children were raped and tortured before being killed. Beslan was intended to inflame the Russians into committing retaliatory attacks on muslims of all stripes. Russia recognized it for what it was and clamped down on those aspects of the incident to prevent the populace from retaliating. the intent for the attackers was to incite retaliatory attacks so that they could point to them on Al Jazzera and inflame the muslim world to unite under Al Queda's banner and declare holy war against the west. By preventing the retaliatory attacks, Russia undermined the ultimate goal of the attack.

We're next. And this time, there will be MULTIPLE attacks on multiple schools across the country and it will not be possible to keep the atrocities quiet in the US.

The plan goes like this: Elementary schools in suburban and rural areas are to be the targets in order to delay the response. School buses painted in the livery of the school districts to be attacked pull up to the elementary school filled with terrorists. The buses are also truck bombs that can be detonated remotely. The terrorists then take over the school. Boys and girls are separated. Boys are summarily executed. Girls are raped and tortured to death and their bodies will be thrown out the windows. They target elementary schools because they want the boys to be too young to mount a viable defense, and they want the girls old enough to rape. And of course thanks to the fact that carrying a weapon in school is illegal, they know that none of the teachers will be able to mount a defense either.

By the time the police and the parents arrive and begin to mill about the parking lots, the buses will be detonated to decimate the parents and the police. The attackers do not expect to live or escape. They intend to die there. The goal is the same as at Beslan, to inflame hated in the American people and incite people to commit atrocities in retaliation that can then be shown on Al Jazzera to inflame a holy war.

What can we do? Well, we can start by allowing CHL holders to carry on school campuses. If the plan can be disrupted from the inside, then SWAT teams might have a chance at assaulting the campus and saving lives before the plan can be taken to it's intended completion.

Further confirmation from elsewhere.

Here is the transcript for tonight's show.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Zetas are at it again.

The Zetas are a group of Ex-Mexican army soldiers that were trained, partially with American money, to help stop the flow of drugs, who then took their training and turned around and became mercenaries working for the very drug cartels they were trained to fight against. Three days ago, near Neely's Crossing in Hudspeth County, Someone, likely a group of Zetas, fired upon Hudspeth County sheriff's deputies who were attempting to stop a drug smuggler from making it back across the border with a .50 Cal pintle mounted machine gun mounted in a jeep. This is yet another instance in a alarming series of instances where military weapons were used to protect drug shipments.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

At my wit's end, could use some advice.

I have mentioned my mother in law before. She is bipolar, refuses to take her meds, and when she gets in her depressed phase she threatens suicide to get even with everyone. It is her pat answer to people, piss her off and she threatens suicide. Well things have gone from bad to worse with her. She has hooked up with this guy named Wayne. Wayne is a drunk, he lives in an apartment in the same complex as my MIL and just got out of an Alcohol treatment center. Obviously it didn't work, he's back to boozing. He has dismissed the home healthcare nurse that was checking in on her, He has dismissed the visits from the Canadian Institute for the Blind and the Kirby Center for Seniors. Her entire life now revolves around Wayne. She may not leave the apartment without him. He has taken the handset to her telephone to his apartment when he isn't there so that she cannot make any phone calls when he isn't there to overhear. He has sold all of her furniture and used the money for booze. He also ran up all of her credit cards buying booze too. We had known she was hanging around with a guy named Wayne, but every time we spoke with him he seemed nice enough and she was not complaining about him. She seemed happy so we thought that maybe, just maybe, he was good for her. We were apparently wrong. We found this all out last week when we got a call from a Lt. with the RCMP. Apparently the neighbors called the cops because he was screaming at the top of his lungs at her to "crawl across the floor to him" which makes me think there is some kind of perverted slave relationship thing going on here. All of the neighbors were out in the hallway hearing all this. The Lt. said that she again made a suicide threat, and did not appear to be in touch with reality and making accusations that he had tapped her phone (when he really just took the handset) and commented that there did not appear to be any food in the apt. He took her to the ER in Calgary to get her checked out and apparently they decided she was perfectly sane and released her. Wayne is about to be evicted by the landlord, but the MIL is still head over heels for this slimeball and refuses to stay away from him. We can't have her committed, It takes two doctors to declare her incompetent per Canadian Law and none of her doctors will do that. Hell, what do they care? It's not like THEY have to clean up the mess she makes. We can't MAKE her stay away from him.

What are we to do?

Friday, September 07, 2007

That isn't Quetchup, That's BLOOD!

Ok this is REALLY starting to piss me off. Quetchup has now taken to forging email addresses to send it's invites. If you get invites that appear to come from me, PLEASE DO NOT FOLLOW THE LINK! As soon as I realized I had become their latest sucker, I unsubscribed from the "service" and changed my login password to gmail. Apparently that is not enough to prevent them from impersonating me now. Well, the gloves are coming off.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Would you like some Quetchup with your Spam?

There is a new Spammer in town and his sentence should be death (as is appropriate for Spammers). Fightin Jay Lee got sucker punched by it as have others I know and have corresponded with, and, sadly I have as well for two of my three email addresses (I haven't checked the third yet, I probably have there as well).

Here is how the scam works. You get an "invite" from someone you know to have corresponded with before asking you to join this social networking site called "Quetchup" owned and operated by iDate Ltd. in the UK.

You go there and join and it asks you for your web email password so that it can check your contact list for people who have also joined, but it does one other thing, It also sends "invites" to EVERYONE on your contact list as well. It says so on the website in a small box up on the right hand side of the screen above the advertising banner ads in a normal typeface so as to not draw attention to itself. But of course if you aren't paying attention, then you don't see it. They claim they will never sell your info, but there is nothing in the privacy notice keeping them from using it themselves.

If you get such an invite, DO NOT FOLLOW THE LINK! Just nuke it. You and your friends will be glad you did. I wish I had.....